Presidio plans spark outcry for resistance

As development proposals for the Presidio continue to raise eyebrows from the public, nearby neighborhood groups are pining to re-establish a dormant watchdog group so they can offer their opinions on the new changes at the former Army post.

The Presidio Neighborhood Representative Work Group, a collective of nearby neighborhood groups and city agencies, was first established in 2001.

The group was created as a way to offer streamlined feedback on new developments, particularly the proposal at the time to house George Lucas’ digital-arts center at the Letterman Complex, according to Nannie Turrell of the Planning Department.

The group met weekly and submitted formal comments to the Presidio Trust, the federally appointed group in charge of operations at the Presidio. Once the digital-arts center was approved the group ceased meeting, Turrell said.

Because the trust is set to release in June a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement about developments on the Main Post — deemed necessary because new proposals for the site differ from the group’s original management plan — nearby neighborhood groups think it’s time for the group to reconvene.

“There has been a real popular upwelling of concerns about plans for the Main Post,” said David Bancroft of the Cow Hollow Association, one of several neighborhood groups slated for involvement in the group.

The neighborhood groups are concerned about a lack of public transportation in the Presidio and an incongruous mix of new additions to the Presidio’s historical Main Post, according to Martin Beresford of the Marina Community Association. A plan to house a modern-designed 100,000-square-foot museum featuring Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher’s art collection in the Main Post is a particularly hot-topic item.

“It’s the wrong track for the Presidio,” Beresford said.

Museum spokesman Sam Singer said the Fishers “have received overwhelmingly positive support for the museum in the Presidio.”

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier’s office is working on a resolution to re-establish the PNRWG, which will include city agencies such as the Public Utilities Commission and the Municipal Transportation Agency. The resolution will go before the Board of Supervisors’ Rules Committee on May 15.

Dana Polk, spokeswoman for the Presidio Trust, said her organization looks forward to meeting with the neighborhood group.

“We expect the working group to be helpful,” Polk said. “It should help us work together more effectively.”

wreisman@examiner.com

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